How George Santos conned his way into congress


Alex Brandon, AP

Rep. George Santos waits for the start of a session in the House chamber

In the modern age of digital information, where a person’s online image and prestige are more important than ever, you would think that it would be pretty difficult for a con artist to make it very far in the world. George Santos, recently elected House Republican, seems to be a rare exception to that rule. If you’ve been following the news, his name might be familiar. But who exactly is George Santos? And what lies has he perpetrated to slide his way into a seat in congress? 

According to his current campaign site, George Santos is a 1st-generation American whose parents immigrated from Brazil. His mother was reportedly in her office at the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. She survived that day but died a few years later. Santos describes himself as “an experienced businessman, financier and investor, with extensive work in capital introduction, real estate, capital markets, bio-tech and M&A.” He also identifies as gay, making him the first openly-gay Republican elected to Congress.

However, this is the campaign site that has been significantly altered after recent allegations. Much earlier versions of the site, as found here tell a dramatically different story.

According to the site that was up on November 3rd, 2020, Santos’ maternal grandparents were Ukrainian immigrants who fled to Brazil to escape the Holocaust. He went to a preparatory school for high school. But having to drop out due to financial difficulties, he earned a GED before attending Baruch College to study for a finance and economics degree. After graduating Santos claims to have worked at Citigroup, Metglobal, Goldman Sachs, and Harbor City Capital. From 2013-2018 he ran the charity, “Friends of Pets United”.

All of these claims share one feature: they are partially or entirely lacking in actual truth. There are no records of Santos’ graduation from Baruch, or from his time working at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Harbor City Capital had its assets frozen after being charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for running a Ponzi scheme with investor money. According to the New York Times, the IRS found no record of the “Friends of Pets United” charity ever having actually registered as a charity. According to genealogy reports, Santos has no Jewish or Ukrainian heritage. His mother, who he claimed was working in finance, was actually a nurse with no apparent connection to 9/11 whatsoever (she was really in Brazil at the time).

Additionally, while he was living in Brazil in 2008l, Santos purchased 700$ worth of clothing with a checkbook stolen from his mother’s former employer. But in 2011, he failed to show up at court for the embezzlement charge. The Brazilian government has since reinstated the case.

The web of lies that have been constructed here is truly astounding, and the fact that no one noticed until after he was elected is even more so. Even now, more and more nuggets of truth are coming out. Some evidence was found to suggest that Santos was even performing as a drag queen while in Brazil.

And yet, there have not been any repercussions. George Santos remains in his congress seat, with surprisingly little movement to remove him. Aside from a few calls for him to step down, which have all been ignored, There has so far been no action to forcibly remove Santos from congress.